How to Select an LPN School in Normal Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it’s important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school in Normal AL that will provide the necessary education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the following segment. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. While price and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will cover later in this article. But first, let’s take a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Activities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have a number of duties that they accomplish in the Normal AL health care facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients seeking medical assistance is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their everyday work functions can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Administering medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Supporting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their occupational functions being governed by each state, the Normal AL health facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available in Alabama that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Normal AL, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Normal AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Normal AL area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some Normal AL area schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Normal AL as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the Normal AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Normal AL school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Normal AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN programs you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Normal AL area to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs in Alabama require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships in the Normal AL area.
Enroll in the Right LPN Program Normal 35762
Picking the best Licensed Practical Nurse college is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in Normal AL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a licensed practical nurse, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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